Crossing into a new country by foot and not by airplane is always very exciting for me. Maybe that is because it is an all-sense-experience. Within Europe I have crossed many borders, sometimes even without any big notice as there are no checkpoints or control points. But outside Europe, where those checkpoints still exist and officers actually can deny your entry, the crossing becomes much more adventurous.
To cross from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan in the south, through the checkpoint called “Kordai”, it is the best to take a minivan from the main bus stand in Almaty to Bishkek. After three hours the driver first stopped for a quick smoking and toilet break and after another two hours we eventually reached the border. All passengers have to get out of the minivan – including all their luggage – and cross by foot. The officers here again are very serious and none of them is smiling. After ten minutes of queuing I got my exist-stamp from Kazakhstan and I am now somehow in no-man´s-land walking 200 meters to the entry point of
Kyrgyzstan. Telling the custom control I only carry clothe saved me from a detailed inspection. Most of the people around me are apparently Kyrgyz and therefore don´t need any visa stamp or something. They have easy game to just walk through. One office stopped me. Probably it was my big red backpack that told him I am a tourist without local passport. I had to hand him over my passport and then he disappeared. After five minutes he appeared again and gave me back my passport. I was a bit confused and asked “Stamp? Stamp?” Neither was I compared to my passport photo nor was I asked any questions about my stay and local address. The officer opened my passport and on the last page indeed, I discovered my entry stamp to Kyrgyzstan. I cheered and screamed out of excitement and then I saw something for the first time: A smiling border security officer =)
After 30 minutes our minivan made it through the border as well and our journey continued to Bishkek. Happy welcome in Kyrgyzstan now!